REVIEWS: Two Views of "Two Women": Art vs. Politics
(indieWIRE/4.4.2000) — Here’s an Iranian film, made by a female Iranian director, about the notoriously misogynist aspects of Iranian culture. On paper, what could be braver, more important and potentially groundbreaking? What a shame to have to report, then, that despite the very best of intentions, Tahmine Milani‘s film “Two Women” is all but undone by a level of filmmaking that can only be described as amateur.
The two women of the title are two friends who first meet as university students in Tehran during the turbulent 70s of the Iranian revolution. Through a series of flashbacks, we watch the ongoing friendship of the women, whose lives have since taken very different turns. Roya is now happily married to a supportive, loving husband and her architecture career seems to be doing just fine. But her friend Fereshteh is another story and despite the film’s title, the film is really about her alone.
And alone she is, for the most part, in a male-dominated society where basic assumptions about women’s equal rights for work and love are routinely ignored. Fereshteh has taken a husband through an arranged marriage who reveals himself over time to be a nightmare. He has occasion to lock our heroine in the house and rant and rave at the very thought that his wife might continue her education not to mention educate their children.
To make matters worse, much worse, Fereshteh is plagued by a stalker who follows her on his motorcycle, not hesitating to threaten her with his knife or even douse a suspected rival with acid. Fereshteh’s father is of utterly no help. His only concern vis-